Sunday, July 08, 2007

Online Galleries - some thoughts

Selling art on line is big business and growing daily. For those artists whom commercial gallery’s never call back and institutional galleries can’t spell their name even when it is Smith, on line galleries are an alternative route to market and recognition. And like their real world counterparts they come in all shapes and sizes.

Below are my thoughts about some of the ones that have come to my notice whilst tripping round the net. They are ranked according to their Alexa traffic ranking which is shown in the brackets. I have estimated how much competition there is for your art to be seen (Inventory) and how much it costs to play. I then went through each site with my artist hat on and then again with my buyer’s hat firmly affixed to get a feel of how they are trying to sell their wares to each group. Then I summed it all up by comparing them to a real world equivalent. The last 3 categories are very subjective, just how I see it, feel free to differ.

Gallery: (2141)
Inventory: 300,000 plus artworks or so they say
Cost to Artist: 90% of sale goes to the company (they do the printing, framing and set the prices) plus set up fees for fine art printing
Pitch to artist: We’re the biggest
Pitch to customers: We’re the biggest
Real world equivalent: Big retail poster shop/art market

Gallery: Imagekind (27600)
Inventory: 189,000 artworks according to google search (includes commercial art posters)
Cost to Artist: The cost of the printing and framing the work (artist sets own mark up) plus $95 pa if you want a major gallery presence.
Pitch to artist: The quality of the prints
Pitch to customers: Our artists buy from us
Real world equivalent: Main Street Photo lab with a strong inventory of commercial posters

Gallery: (42631)
Inventory: 222,000 plus artworks as per a category count on July 7 2007
Cost to Artist: $5.00 per month plus 10% commission if company credit facilities used
Pitch to artist: We have a gallery space for you
Pitch to customers: ebay without the auctions
Real world equivalent: Local Weekend Arts Market

Gallery: Absolute Arts (46274)
Inventory: 145,000 plus artworks as per a category count on July 7 2007
Cost to Artist: If you want to be seen it will cost you $100 pa plus a one off jury fee of $25 and 20% commission to the company for each sale.
Pitch to artist: Well established with a World Wide Arts Resources tie up
Pitch to customers: We sort it all out for you
Real world equivalent: Regional gallery with a bargain basement

Gallery: PicassoMio (74701)
Inventory: Held at around 40,000 artworks
Cost to Artist: 33% commission to company for sales made by the gallery
Pitch to artist: Is your work good enough to get the nod from the jury?
Pitch to customers: Selected primary market fine art along with secondary market artworks available
Real world equivalent: Upmarket Commercial Gallery

Gallery: Red Bubble (83091)
Inventory: 42,000 plus (includes T-shirts & cards)
Cost to Artist: The cost of the printing and framing the work (artist sets own mark up)
Pitch to artist: Framing & printing made easy
Pitch to customers: All marketing seems to be pitched to contributors
Real world equivalent: Main Street framing shop with T’s and cards on the side

Gallery: Boundless Gallery (91675)
Inventory: 33,000 plus as per a category count on July 7 2007
Cost to Artist: 25% commission to company on sales through the gallery
Pitch to artist: no fees, low commission and can purchase front page listing
Pitch to customers: see what it looks like in your home/office before you buy
Real world equivalent: Art Gallery in a Home Décor Centre

Gallery: EBSQ (112948)
Inventory: 210,000 plus artworks as per a category count on July 7 2007
Cost to Artist: $78.00 pa for gallery space with links to sales outlets
Pitch to artist: we understand and care
Pitch to customers: discover a diamond in the rough
Real world equivalent: Artists co-op Gallery

Now choose your poison. But before you sign on the dotted line do check your choice or choices out for yourself, don’t just take my word for it.


Anonymous said...

I think your characterization of us was very fair. However you did miss a few points in your review.

EBSQ does have a $78 annual fee, but members also have the option of paying $7.50 monthly. And unlike some of the other services listed, EBSQ has no limit on the number of items allowed in one's portfolio.

Also, EBSQ artists are able to make commissioned art work and individual items available directly to the public. Because the sales are handled directly between the artist & buyer, EBSQ takes no fees from these transactions.

Thank you for including us in your review!

-Amie Gillingham
director, EBSQ

Anonymous said...

A useful analysis/comparison, Henry - thanks!